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Shakespeare as an Economist

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Henry W. Farnam
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Of what use is all this? Well, for one thing it tends to disprove the notion that economics is a dismal science. If the greatest poet of the English tongue was also an econo mist of deep insight, then economics must have something to do with poetry. Indeed not only does economic pros perity furnish the humus in 'which the flower of poetry unfolds its greatest beauty, but economic processes supply more directly the thoughts, the similes, the action of dramas which touch upon the vital interests of men and society. There are dismal economists. There are also doleful poets, whose very existence confirms the dictum: poeta nascz't'ur non fit. For if they had to be made, it is clear that the economic demand would not justify the investment of capital in their manufacture. If made, we must suppose that some of nature's journeymen had made them, and not made them well. But if the great poet may be an economist, so the really great economist must be something of a poet, whether his thoughts be expressed in verse or not. For he must have the imagination to visualize both the future and the past; he must see the forces of society in their true proportions and in their proper perspective; he too gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name. After this sentence was written I chanced upon a confirmation of it in an unexpected quarter. Karl Pearson in his Grammar of Science, says.

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